A mother’s love knows no bounds

Isn’t that something we all have heard and I bet most of us mothers feel it as well.

But very few of us have the courage to look deep within and accept what we might actually do when destiny rolls the wrong dice and even fewer, almost rare, will come out victorious .. and will have tales to tell. but none .. at least in my experience none, will do everything with so much grace and elan .. and still ever so silently

So, let me unravel the mystery and tell you about one such soul whom I have had the good fortune of calling a friend recently

Her name is Nina Mehrotra.Saying that she is the mother of Shaurya, a 30-year-old child, with down syndrome, will be an understatement.Not only is she a mother to him but she is also his friend, his teacher and his round the clock companion We all do that for our kids, you say.Yes, we do .. for the first few years .. maybe 15 .. maybe 20 years. but then kids become teenagers .. and then adults .. and then birds fly out of the nest

Not here. She hasn’t spent a single day away from him, in the last 30 years. He loves to paint and create .. so she opened a studio where both of them work .. it is called Banana Studio.You would ask why Banana? Well, the word Banana was very amusing for Shaurya, so they decided to keep the name Banana Studio, where they both along with many others make(Banana) and create with Clay and more.

He is very calm and very loving and loves to come to the studio which he likes to think of as his office .. because he always wanted to go to work just like his father. Nina and her husband Anil always did and will continue to do what we all do for our children. He goes everywhere with them.To the restaurants, malls, pubs .. everywhere they have traveled and lived in South Africa, Thailand, and China where Shaurya got his training in Ceramics

To help and support Shaurya Nina too started learning along with him.She does pottery, decoupage and lot of interesting things. When they came back to India, Nina discovered that there is no place for differently gifted individuals like Shaurya when they are over 18 years of age.So unlike many of his kind, who are locked in their homes.

Nina wanted to create a place for him where he can live up to his potential and lead a good life.An instruction free studio for him and for all who would like to join in their creative crusade.

It is her dream to make an inclusive society where we all accept everyone as normal and not sideline some.

We all are different, who gave us the right to call some abnormal, and us as normal ..we all have different strengths and weaknesses .so do people with special need.They are also just differently abled.

I have been associated with Nina for about a year now. It was my first experience with a special needs person.

I was hesitant to approach Shaurya .. but after I kept my hesitation away .. and asked Nina,

She explained to me and absolutely did not mind it. I kept meeting them weekly ..and soon enough Shaurya started liking me. He is very happy whenever I join in the studio.

I am a mother of a 5-year-old, and Shaurya and my daughter Vaanya get along so well.Children do not have any prejudice like us.When my daughter met Shaurya for the first time. I was expecting her to ask me a lot of question.But to my surprise there were none.

You got to see the artwork created by Shaurya, its pure art. I am an artist and I understand the creation of art, clearing the mind of all the clutter and focusing on the subject ..it’s a lot of work for us, ‘the normal’.but for Shaurya. His mind does not gather dirt like ours .. he takes what he needs .. and creates such miracles.such souls can flourish like beautiful wildflowers given the right nourishment.

My favorite sculpture from his collection is that of a Parking lot.His idea of a parking lot, turned into an artwork .. leaves you speechless.

Nina is a symbol of strength, patience and strong will for me.Banana Studio is a hidden gem, a very beautiful and inspiring studio, like a dear friend says, when people with special needs can .. there is no reason for us to stop. Sky’s the limit. If you believe the doors are closed, they nobody can open them for you .. you have the key to all the doors!

I am an artist, a painter, a sculptor and I love to teach art. I am quite new to Gurgaon, we relocated to India just last year. I was born and brought up in Delhi, got married and moved to the Netherlands, then to Norway and then to Italy .. learning and practicing my art in each country.I really like the way Art teacher George Szekely puts it, and always remember when I teach, “Art teaching is a celebration of the freedom to search for the artistic spirit in every person.The art teacher is the catalyst whose primary function is to create conditions within which children are inspired by their own ideas for making art.”

Finally, after 9 years when we located back to India last year, I wanted to find my tribe. So started my quest, in that quest I met Nina.